13.3.2 substitution of the gerundio passato with the participio passato

In some cases the gerundio passato can be substituted by a participio passato or by an infinitio passato.

  examples  
Avendo scritto la lettera, si sentiva meglio.
  Scritta la lettera, si sentiva meglio.
  Dopo aver scritto la lettera, si sentiva meglio.
After having written the letter, he felt better.

Nevertheless this substitution is only possible in declarative sentences.

  examples
Non avendo saputo esprimere me stesso né con la pittura, né con la scultura, ho cominciato a scrivere.  
  not: Non saputo esprimere me stesso .....
  not: Non aver saputo esprimere me stesso...
  Not having been able to express myself through painting or sculpting, I started writing.
  Non avendo risparmiato nulla quando avrebbe potuto, sarebbe stato costretto di chiedere l'elemosina.
  not: Non risparmiato nulla quando avrebbe potuto, ....
  not: Non aver risparmiato nulla quando avrebbe potuto, ....
  Not having saved nothing when he was able to do so, he would have been obliged to beg for pittance.
  Non avendo capito di che si tratta, ho fatto una ricerca su google.
  not: Non capito di che si tratta, .....
  not: Non aver capito di che si tratta, .....
  As I didn't understood what it is all about, I started a search with google.

The participio passato describes predominantly a temporal relationship, the gerundio passato a causal relationship. Depending on the context one is better than the other.

causal
better: Essendo il treno partito in ritardo siamo arrivati in ritardo.
  possible: Partito il treno in ritardo, siamo arrivati in ritardo.
  Because the train left with a delay, we arrived to late.
  temporal
  better: Partito il treno, siamo ritornati a casa.
  possible: Essendo partito il treno siamo ritornati a casa.
  Whe the train had left we went home.

Since a pronoun can't be added to a participle, the past participle can't be used if such a pronoun in accusative or dative is to be added. A personal pronoun stands before the first finite verb or is added to the infinitivo / gerundio. It can' t stand before or behind the participio passato and therefore in this context the participio passato can' t be used.

Avendogli detto ciò che ne pensavo, uscii dalla stanza.
  Dopo avergli detto ciò che ne pensavo, uscii dalla stanza.
  no: Detto gli ciò che ne pensavo.....
  no: Gli detto ciò che ne pensavo....
  After having told him what I think about it, I left the room.
  Avendogli scritto prima, l'ho finalmente chiamato.
  Dopo avergli scritto prima, l'ho finalemente chiamato.
  no: Scritto gli prima, lo ......
  no: Gli scritto prima, lo ......
  After having written him before, I called him.

As we already said the gerundio has normally the same subject as the finite verb (we call finite forms the forms which have more information that the infinite forms. Calls for instance contains more information than to call because in the case of calls we know that a single person, who is neither me nor you, is calling). To this rule, that a gerundio has normally the same subject as the finite verb, there are only some exceptions. (This is not trivial as you may believe and it is not like that in English, for details see here http://www.inglese-online.de.)

general statements
Parlando di lui, nessuno è capace di dire qualcosa di positivo.
  Talking about him, nobody is able to say anything positive about him.
Description of weather conditions
  Facendo caldo, abbiamo preferito restare a casa.
  As it was so cold, we preferred to stay at home.
It is a subordinate sentence and the subject of the gerund is put after the gerund
  Essendo Giovanni assente, abbiamo preferito non parlare di lui.
  Giovanni not being present, we prefered not to talk about him.

We will see the same logic in the case of the infinitive. This one as well is infinite (infinite are the infinitive, the gerund and the present / past participle because they contain no information about who performs the action). An infinite verb has normally the same subject as the finite verb, otherwise it wouldn't be clear who performs the action described by the infinite form.






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